Local Environment and Economic Development (LEED) toolkit

Client: Natural England (Defra Network) and Local Enterprise Partnerships

Cumulus Consultants was commissioned by Natural England (on behalf of the Defra Network) to roll out the Local Environment and Economic Development (LEED) Toolkit for a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England.


During the five month project over 2013/14, Cumulus delivered LEED Level 1 across four LEPs (Heart of the South West, Gloucestershire, The Black Country and D2N2 (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire)) and LEED Level 2 for Gloucestershire LEP (GFirst).

LEED Level 1 involved co-ordinating and facilitating a workshop involving a range of economic and environmental stakeholders; opportunities and threats were identified and potential solutions scoped out; a brief report was then produced. LEED Level 2 took the process further with desk-top research, interviews with key local experts, two workshops and a more detailed report.  We also helped deliver follow-on training in other regions.

Findings and recommendations

Key findings arising from the Gloucestershire Level 2 report included:

  • The prosperity of Gloucestershire is underpinned by a high quality natural environment.
  • Quality of life is high on the list when competing for talent and business.
  • ‘Resilience’ is a pre-condition for economic growth.
  • The strength and importance of the rural economy must not be overlooked.

Key recommendations include:

  • Actions to help address the threats and realise the opportunities in Gloucestershire
  • Suggestions for the future role of the LEED toolkit such as:
  • Guiding LEPs with the implementation of programmes and projects; and
  • Informing future priorities, activities and collaboration between LEPs and LNPs

Key benefits

  • Improved Strategic Economic Plans and ESIF strategies
  • Additional resources (e.g. an extra £3.3m for ESIF projects in Gloucestershire)
  • More sustainable economic growth and development
  • Better understanding between economic development and environmental professionals


The LEED Level 1 and 2 reports for Gloucestershire, and general information on the LEED toolkit can be accessed here:

You did an excellent job, and the LEED workshops are a challenging thing to deliver. We particularly valued your open and clear communications, being willing to pick up additional work where the project needed further input. It’s been a pleasure working with you.

Tom Butterworth and Tim Sunderland, Natural England